What is temporal or giant cell arteritis?

Giant cell arteritis, or temporal arteritis, is a condition which affects the arteries. If left untreated it can cause serious sight loss. With giant cell arteritis the medium-sized blood vessels become swollen. The most common artery to swell is the temporal artery.

The temporal artery provides blood to the optic nerve. The danger to sight occurs because the artery can become so swollen that it is easily blocked. If this happens then the optic nerve is starved of blood and sight can be lost.

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